United Kingdom — A team of 19 firefighters was airlifted from Snowdoniaafter battling against a 20-hectare grass fire started by a discarded cigarette.
Crews had walked for an hour and a half to reach the scene of the blaze atCarnedd y Cribau, Nant Gwynant.
But they were urgently needed to cover crews battling another, deliberatefire, and an RAF Valley helicopter airlifted them at 2030 BST on Saturday.
The fire service said such incidents were continuing to “drain”resources.
North Wales Fire Service said it would have taken the crews – from Betws yCoed, Llanberis, Caernarfon and Porthmadog – too long to walk down from themountainside. Darkness was also beginning to fall.
County Operations Manager Glyn Jones, said: “The reason the fire crewswere flown down in the 22 Squadron helicopter was that we needed to get thecrews and resources back into the local community as soon as possible to providethe best cover for the public of North Wales.”
He added: “The cause of this fire has been established as a discardedcigarette.
“We are asking members of the public who are out in the countrysideduring this hot weather not to throw their cigarettes without ensure that theyare extinguished properly.
“These incidents are a huge drain on our resources and put the lives ofthe firefighters and public at risk.”
After the 19 firefighters were airlifted from the area, crews were dispatchedto tackle a grass fire which was started deliberately at Llandecwyn near Harlech.
Five appliances tackled the blaze which was started at around midnight andcovered an area of 400 sq m (4306 sq ft).
The blaze was doused by 0600 BST.
The incidents follow a recent spate of grass and gorse fires.
Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, there were hundreds of incidents acrossWales which firefighters said had drained resources.
The fire service said the weekend was one of the worst they have everexperienced for countryside fires, with South Wales alone receiving 5,500 callsin just 10 days.
Officers made a plea to the public to be more careful in the countrysidewhile experts warned of the consequences for wildlife and their habitats.